Tuesday, February 9, 2016

My newest paper at Agbioforum

Fifteen Years of Experimental Auctions of GM Foods: What Have We Learned about Policy, Preferences, and Auction Design?

It was a coincidence that GM foods became ubiquitous at the same time that researchers started using experimental auctions to study consumer preferences for food products. We explore the history of experimental auctions used to study GM food products and how the insights gained have been useful to policy makers. We also examine how experimental auctions of GM food products helped researchers gain insight both into consumer behavior and into best practices for experimental auctions.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

When do sports stars have an income tax rate over 100%?

Here are a couple stories highlighting the tax issues faced by athletes:

1. Paying to play in Memphis

That’s where Johnson comes in. “In certain instances,” Klempner says, “it can actually cost a player money to play in Memphis. It’s completely disproportionate.” Johnson didn’t quite pay to play in Memphis, but there will be cases like his going forward as the Grizz front office uses 10-day contracts to experiment with potential roster fits.

2. California taxes will eat up all of Cam Newton's Super Bowl earnings 

Remember when Peyton Manning paid New Jersey nearly $47,000 in taxes two years ago on his Super Bowl earnings of $46,000? Manning has nothing on the state taxes facing Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton for Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, Calif.
(Note - I know a business operator who says that NC tax laws mean this isn't quite true - as Newton will get a credit on his NC taxes.  At the very least, however, these articles highlight some strange and sub-optimal tax laws.)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Thoughts on the economics conference (ASSA) and San Francisco

The ASSA conference in early January is the biggest economics conference each year.  Thousands of economists descended this year to San Francisco for three days of fun and frivolity.  (OK, three days of learning about new models, statistical methods, and results – but that’s the same thing, right?)  I was a discussant for one paper and presented a poster on Broadway Economics.  I also saw several good presentations where I learned some things, worked on projects with my co-authors, and met several interesting people.  It was a fantastic conference.

San Francisco, however?  What a dump.  Coming in on the BART (their train), you see many run-down houses that still cost a fortune, because of the insane property restrictions.  It makes you wonder why anyone would live there.  Of course, it might be because they love being accosted by beggars on their dirty streets.  Between the griminess, the beggars, the high property values, high taxes (even on plastic bags - which costs lives), and the other ways it restricts liberty, San Francisco might be my least favorite US city.  It is even in the running with Mexico City and Naples, Italy as far as places I most want to avoid.   (Although I did like Fisherman’s Wharf ...)

Friday, January 1, 2016

My 2015 in review - publications

I had another productive year with research and writing.  I published four articles for lay audiences and also had four scholarly publications in 2015, with three more scholarly articles that have been accepted but are still forthcoming.  Here are the details:

Here are my published opeds or articles for lay audiences:

“Economic Lessons for Children from The Hunger Games.”  Library of Economics and Liberty. December 6, 2015.  http://www.econlib.org/library/Columns/y2015/Rousuhungergames.html

“Here’s what PA should do about the minimum wage.” The Harrisburg Patriot News.  February 27, 2015.  http://www.pennlive.com/opinion/2015/02/heres_what_pa_should_do_about.html 

“Three keys to prosperity.”  The Philadelphia Inquirer.  January 20, 2015.

“Changing These Two Laws Would Appropriately Commemorate MLK Day.” The Federalist. January 19, 2015.  http://thefederalist.com/2015/01/19/changing-these-two-laws-would-appropriately-commemorate-mlk-day

Here are my scholarly publications:

Rousu, M.C., R. O’Connor, M. Travers, J. Pitcavage, J.F. Thrasher.  (2015).  “The impact of free trial acceptance on demand for smokeless tobacco: Evidence from Experimental Auctions. Harm Reduction Journal 12(18), http://www.harmreductionjournal.com/content/12/1/18

Rousu, M.C., J. Corrigan, D. Harris, J. Hayter-Kerns, S. Houser, B. LaFrancis, O. Onafowora, A. Hoffer, G. Colson.  (2015).  “The impact of monetary incentives on game performance and classroom learning.”  Journal of Economic Education 46(4) 341-349.

Rousu, M.C., J Corrigan, G. Colson, C. Grebitus, M. Loureiro.  (2015).  “On developing guidelines for use of deception in agricultural and applied economics.”  Applied Economics Policy and Perspectives 37 (3) 524-536.

Rousu, M., D. Ramsaran, and D. Furlano.  (2015).  “Guidelines for conducting economic impact studies on fracking.”  International Review in Economic Research, 21 (2): 213-225.

(And these are forthcoming ...)

Colson, G., J. Corrigan, C. Grebitus, M. Loureiro, M. Rousu. (2015). “Which deceptive practices, if any, should be allowed in experimental economics research? Results from surveys of applied experimental economists and students.” Forthcoming at the American Journal of Agricultural Economics

Ramsaran D. and M. Rousu.  (2015).  “Experiencing the Impact of Marcellus Shale: A Case Study.”  Forthcoming at International Journal of Social Economics.

Rousu, M.  (2015). “Fifteen Years of Experimental Auctions of GM Foods: What have we Learned About Policy, Preferences, and Auction Design?”  Forthcoming at Agbioforum.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

My 2015 in Broadway shows

2015 was a great year in many ways.  As far as musicals go, this year I launched Broadway Economics, which is designed to help teach economics through showtunes.

I also saw more shows in NYC this year than in any previous year (seven).  Here are the shows in order I saw them:

1. On the Twentieth Century

Very entertaining show - saw Kristen Chenoweth and Andy Karl in performances that earned them both Tony nominations.  It also has the song Five Zeroes, which will be going on Broadway Economics soon.

2. Honeymoon in Vegas

Great show that unfortunately couldn't gain traction in NYC.  Fortunately, the low demand meant we got 6th row seats for almost nothing by going through the "rush" tickets line.  My kids got to meet Nancy Opel after the show.  Also - The Airport Song is a great song illustrating price discrimination that is featured on Broadway Economics.

3. Something Rotten

Fantastic and hilarious show!  Also has a couple songs featured on Broadway Economics (Welcome to the Renaissance and A Musical).

4. Fun Home

The show that won the Best Musical Tony in 2015 was quite good.  Again, it features a song that is on Broadway Economics.

5. The King and I

What I found fascinating about this show, other than its outstanding quality, was that it was at the Lincoln Center.  That theater's operational model seems quite different from many, as they rely on many donations.  (And they get A LOT of big donations.)  It shows with the casting - as The King and I had a large cast, which isn't cheap.

6. Spring Awakening

This was an all-deaf cast, which made for an interesting musical.  I have a song how has hearing aids, so I really wanted to see this show.  I'm not a big fan of the music or the story, for that matter.  (Full of cliches about how mistreated kids ar

e ...) But the acting was pretty amazing.  Seeing the acting in sign language, with a perfectly silent theater, was powerful and well worth the trip.

7. Dames at Sea

What else did I see this year?

1. Ham for Ham

My wife and I saw this performance of Ham for Ham.  (And our family is going to Hamilton in February!)

2. Once, the Musical (on tour)

3. Matilda, the Musical (on tour)

4. You're a Good Man,Charlie Brown (local production)

My favorite show of the year!  I might be biased, however, as my three kids all had roles.

5. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (local production)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Should Deception in Experiments be Allowed? - My New Paper at the AJAE

Link here

This was collaborative research with my coauthors and friends Greg Colson, Jay Corrigan, Carola Grebitus, and Maria Loureiro.


Deceptive experimental practices are banned in some professions but are standard in others. Recently, the journals of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association introduced guidelines that allow researchers to publish articles that use some forms of deception. However, in their present form, these guidelines leave room for interpretation. This situation is not ideal for researchers, and a clearer definition of which deceptive practices should be banned could be beneficial. Our aim is to help provide greater clarity and potential guidance for journal policies regarding deception by using the results of surveys of both researcher and student subjects. Evaluating ten potentially deceptive experimental techniques, we find consistent support for banning certain practices while allowing others.